What are Repetitive Stress Injuries?
Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs) are the injuries that are caused due to repetitive stress or force upon particular body parts which results in swelling or inflammation over affected area, muscle strain, tissue damage or ligament injury. It’s also known as work-related upper limb disorder or non-specific upper limb pain. RSIs are the conditions associated with the repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, and sustained or awkward postures. RSIs are common work-related injuries, often affecting people who spend a lot of time using computer keyboards.
RSIs are becoming more common in teens because they spend more time than ever on computers. Sports that involve continuous movement or repetitive motion can also cause RSIs. People who spend a lot of time on musical instruments are at higher risk for the RSIs.
The condition mostly affects parts of the upper body, such as the:
- forearms and elbows
- wrists and hand
- neck and shoulders
Causes of RSIs-
Studies have shown that increased psychological stress has been shown to worsen RSI.
Overuse of a particular muscle or group of muscles during exercise increases chances of RSIs.
Poor posture, a non-ergonomically designed workspace and holding the same posture for prolonged periods causes stress over muscles.
Carrying heavy load
Carrying heavy load using poor or wrong technique can result in muscle sprain or injury.
Working in extremely cold or hot condition
Temperature affects your body a lot, working in extreme conditions can result in fatigue.
Symptoms of RSIs-
Tenderness in the affected muscle or joint.
Pain in the affected muscle or joint.
Tingling sensation in the affected area (especially the hand or arm).
Loss of sensation.
Loss of strength.
How to prevent RSIs?
The following list contains a number of methods to ensure you remain RSI free:
Take short breaks from repetitive work you are carrying out. This can reduce or lower the risk of RSIs.
Stand up and stretch your arms, hands and slowly rotate your neck clockwise and anticlockwise.
Occasionally give your eyes a moment’s respite by staring at objects in the distance; this allows the muscles used to focus the eye to rest.
Outside of work, try to eat healthily, exercise to keep your body resilient and do not smoke as this reduces blood flow.
Anti-inflammatory painkillers, muscle relaxants, antidepressants and sleeping tablets (if sleeping is affected by the issue).
Heat or cold:
Applying heat packs or ice packs, or using an elastic support or splint.
These are only advised if there is inflammation associated with a specific medical condition.
Where relevant, surgery can be used to correct problems with specific tendons and nerves.
Including exercises and advice.